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Bad Feminist
Cover of Bad Feminist
Bad Feminist
Essays
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"Roxane Gay is so great at weaving the intimate and personal with what is most bewildering and upsetting at this moment in culture. She is always looking, always thinking, always passionate, always careful, always right there." — Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

A New York Times Bestseller

Best Book of the Year: NPR • Boston Globe • Newsweek • Time Out New York • Oprah.com • Miami Herald • Book Riot • Buzz Feed • Globe and Mail (Toronto) • The Root • Shelf Awareness

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched cultural observers of her generation

In these funny and insightful essays, Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.

"Roxane Gay is so great at weaving the intimate and personal with what is most bewildering and upsetting at this moment in culture. She is always looking, always thinking, always passionate, always careful, always right there." — Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?

A New York Times Bestseller

Best Book of the Year: NPR • Boston Globe • Newsweek • Time Out New York • Oprah.com • Miami Herald • Book Riot • Buzz Feed • Globe and Mail (Toronto) • The Root • Shelf Awareness

A collection of essays spanning politics, criticism, and feminism from one of the most-watched cultural observers of her generation

In these funny and insightful essays, Gay takes us through the journey of her evolution as a woman (Sweet Valley High) of color (The Help) while also taking readers on a ride through culture of the last few years (Girls, Django in Chains) and commenting on the state of feminism today (abortion, Chris Brown). The portrait that emerges is not only one of an incredibly insightful woman continually growing to understand herself and our society, but also one of our culture.

Bad Feminist is a sharp, funny, and spot-on look at the ways in which the culture we consume becomes who we are, and an inspiring call-to-arms of all the ways we still need to do better, coming from one of our most interesting and important cultural critics.

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About the Author-
  • Roxane Gay is the author of the essay collection Bad Feminist, which was a New York Times bestseller; the novel An Untamed State, a finalist for the Dayton Peace Prize; the memoir Hunger, which was a New York Times bestseller and received a National Book Critics Circle citation; and the short story collections Difficult Women and Ayiti. A contributing opinion writer to the New York Times, she has also written for Time, McSweeney's, the Virginia Quarterly Review, the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Bookforum, and Salon. Her fiction has also been selected for The Best American Short Stories 2012, The Best American Mystery Stories 2014, and other anthologies. She is the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She lives in Lafayette, Indiana, and sometimes Los Angeles.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 30, 2014
    This trenchant collection assembles previously published essays and new work by cultural critic and novelist Gay (An Untamed State). Even though she loves pink, feels nostalgic about the Sweet Valley High series, and lets degrading rap lyrics blast from her car stereo, Gay is passionately committed to feminist issues, such as equal opportunity and pay and reproductive freedom. Writing about race, politics, gender, feminism, privilege, and popular media, she highlights how deeply misogyny is embedded in our culture, the careless language used to discuss sexual violence (seen in news reports of sexual assault), Hollywood’s tokenistic treatment of race, the trivialization of literature written by women, and the many ways American society fails women and African-Americans. Gay bemoans that fact that role models like Bill Cosby and Don Lemon urge African-Americans to act like ideal citizens while glossing over institutional problems in the education, social welfare, and justice system that exacerbate racism and poverty. Although Gay is aware of her privilege as a middle-class Haitian-American, she doesn’t refrain from advising inner-city students to have higher expectations. Whatever her topic, Gay’s provocative essays stand out for their bravery, wit, and emotional honesty. Agent: Maria Massie, Lippincott Massie McQuilkin.

  • Kirkus

    July 1, 2014
    Essayist, novelist and pop-culture guru Gay (An Untamed State, 2014, etc.) sounds off on the frustrating complexities of gender and race in pop culture and society as a whole.In this diverse collection of short essays, the author launches her critical salvos at seemingly countless waves of pop-cultural cannon fodder. Although the title can be somewhat misleading-she's more of an inconsistent or conflicted feminist-the author does her best to make up for any feminist flaws by addressing, for instance, the disturbing language bandied about carelessly in what she calls "rape culture" in society-and by Gay's measure, this is a culture in which even the stately New York Times is complicit. However, she makes weak attempts at coming to terms with her ambivalence toward the sort of violent female empowerment depicted in such movies as The Hunger Games. Gay explores the reasons for her uneasiness with the term "women's fiction" and delivers some not-very-convincing attempts to sort out what drives her to both respect and loathe a femalecentric TV show like Lena Dunham's Girls. Although generally well-written, some of these gender-studies essays come off as preachy and dull as a public service announcement-especially the piece about her endless self-questioning of her love-hate relationship with the tacky female-submission fantasies in Fifty Shades of Grey. Yet when it comes to race-related matters (in the section "Race and Entertainment"), Gay's writing is much more impassioned and persuasive. Whether critiquing problematic pandering tropes in Tyler Perry's movies or the heavy-handed and often irresponsible way race is dealt with in movies like The Help, 12 Years a Slave or Django Unchained, Gay relentlessly picks apart mainstream depictions of the black experience on-screen and rightfully laments that "all too often critical acclaim for black films is built upon the altar of black suffering or subjugation."An occasionally brilliant, hit-or-miss grab bag of pop-culture criticism.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    March 15, 2014
    "Salon" columnist, "PANK" coeditor, and "Rumpus" essays editor, with 9,600 followers on Twitter and 85,000 followers on Tumblr, Gay is a young cultural critic to watch. And she's just put herself on the map with a debut novel, "An Untamed State", about a young Haitian woman examining her assumptions after a violent kidnapping. Smart readers cannot afford to miss these essays, which range from socially significant art ("Girls; Django in Chains") and feminist issues (abortion) to politics (Chris Brown) and why Gay likes pink. With a 30,000-copy first printing and some intense publicity for a nonfiction paperback original.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Ron Charles, Washington Post "A strikingly fresh cultural critic."
  • NPR, Best Books of 2014 "It's no surprise that Roxane Gay—author, essayist and sharp observer of everything in pop culture we're supposed to be too cool to like—has written such a winning book. . . . This best-selling collection of essays manages to be both a cultural biography and a deeply personal story of identity. At its best, the book offers Gay's distinctive voice as both shield and a weapon against social norms just begging for examination. Perfectly imperfect, Gay is an unforgettable voice, coming at just the right time."
  • Slate "Arresting and sensitive. . . . An author who filters every observation through her deep sense of the world as fractured, beautiful, and complex."
  • Newsweek "[A] touching and crucial essay collection. . . . If you're interested in critical thinking about culture, this book is a must."
  • The Root "There has never been a book quite like Bad Feminist—a sometimes funny, sometimes serious pop-culture-literary-nonfiction-social-commentary hybrid written by a black woman in America. A New York Times best-seller, Bad Feminist establishes Gay as one of our foremost cultural critics and feminist thinkers."
  • Entertainment Weekly "Feisty, whip-smart essays on gender, sexuality, and race."
  • O, the Oprah Magazine, 10 Titles to Pick Up Now "One of our sharpest new culture critics plants her flag in topics ranging from trigger warnings to Orange is the New Black in this timely collection of essays."
  • Time Magazine "Roxane Gay is the brilliant girl-next-door: your best friend and your sharpest critic. . . . She is by turns provocative, chilling, hilarious; she is also required reading."
  • Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A trenchant collection. . . . Whatever her topic, Gay's provocative essays stand out for their bravery, wit, and emotional honesty."
  • Self, "Smart beach-read alert" "Toss Roxane Gay's collection of witty, thoughtful essays, Bad Feminist into your tote bag. With musings on everything from Sweet Valley High to the color pink, Gay explores the idea of being a feminist, even when you're full of contradictions."
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Roxane Gay
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